Update from the Fundraising Regulator (Spring 2019)

24 Apr 2019 Lynn Kennedy    Last updated: 24 Apr 2019

A Guest blog from Gerald Oppenheim, Chief Executive, Fundraising Regulator, catching us up on their latest work, along with what's coming up in the future now that Spring has finally sprung.

Spring is here and we’re buckling down to make sure we achieve the aims we set out at the beginning of the year. Here’s a quick update on what we’ve been doing over the past few months, and what’s to come.

Lessons learned from complaints

We’ve been looking at complaints received about fundraising in 2017/18. Our Complaints Report includes information from the 58 charities spending the most on fundraising, and our own casework, to find out what caused the most complaints from the public.

Our own investigations revealed the most common themes to be:

  • The potential use of misleading information to raise money: charities need to consider using references to back up what they say in their fundraising material to avoid confusion.
  • Managing supporter’s data appropriately: charities must make sure they follow any requests to remove personal data or stop contact.
  • Poor complaints handling: charities can avoid this by making sure their processes are effective in dealing with complaints in a timely and respectful way. Our guidance can help.

Data on complaints from charities showed door-to-door fundraising and addressed mail to be the most complained about fundraising methods. The report is full of data like this and case studies, so is useful for anyone thinking about fundraising.

We’ll be gathering exactly the same information from the same group of charities for the 2018/19 annual return. This will allow us to draw meaningful comparisons across all years.

A more accessible Code

It’s the final leg of our journey to create a more accessible Code of Fundraising Practice. We’ve looked at all responses to our consultation last autumn, and will publish a full summary of these when we publish the PDF version of the new Code in early June.  

Charities and fundraisers will have around 4 months to get used to the new Code before it goes live on our website in October. In the meantime, we’ll be talking to charities and fundraisers across the UK to spread word on the new Code.

Funding the Fundraising Regulator

As we mentioned in the last update, the fundraising levy is vital for us to regulate fundraising effectively. When we introduced the levy bands in September 2016 we agreed to make no changes to them for three years, until August 2019.

After careful thought, we’ve decided that for years 4 and 5 of the levy (covering September 2019 – August 2021) we’ll be making a few changes. We want the levy to be as accurate as possible, and fairer for smaller fundraising charities.

From September 2019 we will:

  • Continue to base the levy on total fundraising spend
  • Use the information provided in the most recent  sets of charity accounts filed with the Charity Commissions for Northern Ireland or England and Wales to decide which band a charity falls into
  • Introduce two extra bands at the lower end of the levy so that smaller charities move up the scale more gradually.

Details of the levy can be found on our website. While you’re there, take a look around – visit our fundraising topics pages and browse our resource library. We’ll keep working closely with organisations like NICVA to make sure our content meets the needs of the fundraising community.

We hope to speak at some events with NICVA later in the year, mainly about the Code but also any other topical fundraising questions there are for us.

lynn.kennedy@nicva.org's picture
by Lynn Kennedy

Fundraising Advice Officer

[email protected]

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